April 18, 2021

UMW Alum Pays it Forward … and Backward

Nehemia Abel ’20 has secured a highly competitive Payne Fellowship, which covers most of the cost of graduate school and provides a “unique pathway” toward a future career with USAID.

Nehemia Abel ’20 has secured a highly competitive Payne Fellowship, which covers most of the cost of graduate school and provides a “unique pathway” toward a future career with USAID.

Securing a free ride to grad school, in large part, through a highly competitive Payne Fellowship was the easy step for Nehemia Abel ’20.

The hard step is deciding among the six prestigious schools to which he has been accepted for his pursuit of a master’s degree in international development: Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, George Washington, Howard and American.

Abel is a believer in paying it forward – and giving back.

Born in Tanzania, he escaped the east African nation of Burundi with help from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). “During my time in a refugee camp, USAID – along with UNICEF – helped my family tremendously by providing us daily necessities and other vital support. I would like to give back by assisting others living in crisis situations globally,” Abel said.

The Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program is described as a “unique pathway” towards gaining employment with USAID. According to the Payne Fellowship website, “If you want to work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our times — poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism – the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development provides such an opportunity.” Read more.

About Anna Billingsley

Anna B. Billingsley, associate vice president for university relations, has worked at UMW since 2004.

Speak Your Mind

*